In a letter sent to students today (3rd February), and copied to staff, University Principal Sally Mapstone revealed that over the weekend staff from the University Security and Covid-Response teams broke up a party in David Russell Apartments attended by an estimated 40 students. In the ensuing fracas, one member of staff was injured and taken to hospital. Police Scotland are now investigating and Principal Mapstone has threatened the culprits with disciplinary action.
This is the full text of her letter:
I am sorry that I have to write to you all in the following terms, but it is important our whole community hears this.
Over the weekend, our University Security and Response Team and staff from David Russell Apartments attended and broke up a party shortly after it began in one block at DRA. It is estimated there were up to 40 people present, many of whom ran away or jumped from windows when our staff arrived.
During this incident, a member of staff was injured by a person trying to run away, and required hospital treatment.
Under the current law in Scotland, this was an illegal gathering. It was attended by people who clearly knew they were breaking the law, and who showed no respect or responsibility for the health of others, including our staff, their fellow students, and the local community.
Police Scotland are now investigating, and we will be taking disciplinary action at the conclusion of our own investigation.
We all know that St Andrews students are not a homogenous group. Many residents of DRA and others who have heard about what happened are appalled by the selfish and reckless behaviour of the minority who organised and attended this party.
The responsible and intelligent attitude of the vast majority of our students got us through first semester, and we will be doing everything we can to nurture that partnership approach to managing the risks of Covid in this second term. Mutual support and respect for the Covid Code are more important than ever in these dangerous times.
Everyone knows that since the turn of the year the law in Scotland prohibits parties which mix households. The law exists for the simple purpose of saving life, and breaking it is not a game, unless you think that risking the lives of others and your own future at this University is a game.
The situation now is different from Semester 1. We have at least two much more transmissible and therefore dangerous variants of Covid to contend with, and the current lockdown, now extended until at least the end of this month, reflects the gravity with which our public health authorities view the national threat.
Thank you to all of you who are alert to that threat, who have done so much and sacrificed so much to support each other, the University and our community through these past nine months. I know that those sacrifices are at significant personal cost. I am so sorry that you have to be included in this message.
To the very small minority of others who believe they are so above the most basic duties of collective responsibility, there is no place for you in St Andrews.”
Principal and Vice-Chancellor